Istanbul is truly enormous. It’s so big, it’s hard to measure, though some counts list it as the fourth largest city in the world. As the city sprawled out over the the twentieth century, it engulfed several ancient communities, including the modern district of Kadıköy, known as Chalcedon in ancient times. Today, Kadıköy is the main cultural hub for Istanbul’s Asian half, and is home to a dense array of cafés and coffee roasters, including the new headquarters for Story Coffee.
For two years now Story Coffee has been quietly build a following in Moda– a bohemian neighborhood known for its historic buildings and beautiful coastline. For their second location, Story took a gamble on a less scenic neighborhood. Although Story Coffee’s Yeldeğirmeni location is just a stone’s throw from the hipster-enclave Rasımpaşa, this particular street is more of a pedestrian thoroughfare, connecting downtown Kadıköy with the more residential Acıbadem neighborhood. It’s a bit of a gamble given specialty coffee consumption in Turkey, which remains a special outing with friends, not a quick pick-me up on the way from point A to point B.
For those, familiar with Story’s first location, it’s clear the second café is not a copy/paste job, but a fresh design with its own vibe. The space is light and airy and filled with greenery. In a city with precious few park spaces, any bit of extra oxygen goes a long way. The equipment set up, however, is familiar: La Marzocco Linea PB for espresso and Technivorm Moccamaster brewers for filter. Story sources their green coffee in partnership with Arabica Trading House and Cafe Imports Europe and is one of the new specialty roasters in Istanbul that has embraced blends in addition to their single origin offerings.
The café is the new home of Story’s roasting operations, which moved from the basement of their Moda location to on display behind a glass partition. After roasting all of their coffee in 1 kilo batches on a 1.5 kilo Probatino (which they bought from Balat’s Coffee Department), Story upgraded to a 6 kilo Giessen.
Although the roasting area offers a way to connect customers with the roasting process, the real star of Story Coffee Yeldeğirmeni is the patio. Cafés in Istanbul tend to be on the cramped side, and outside seating is usually street side, with a steady supply of car exhaust to complement the aromas of your pour-over. But Story 2 boasts a small garden area, which I predict will be one of the best places to drink coffee in Istanbul this summer.
Does Story Coffee Yeldeğirmeni represent a new trend in Turkish specialty coffee, embracing both blends and take-away coffee? Only time will tell. In the meantime, you can find me on the patio.